What comes to mind when you think of your community?
For me it's chain link fences surrounding 1960's concrete block houses. Sticky air and coastal breezes. Live oak trees covered in spanish moss. Towering utility poles. Buzzing mosquitos. The distant sound of gunshots from the sheriff's ranch firing range. Ant bites all over my feet. Year-round Christmas lawn decorations, toys and cars parked in the shitty grass areas we call yards here.
For my class last month at Beyond The Wanderlust called "Here Is Where: Photographing the World Around You", I asked my students the same question. With everything we see on social media, it can be easy to fall into the trap of thinking where we live is boring -- but boring is a relative experience, brought on by seeing the same things day in, day out. Each one of these photographers kicked that notion to the curb and proved that the most important, most beautiful (but not necessarily pretty) place they could photograph was the one right in front of them. There were perspectives not only from all over the country, but all over the world. They pushed through their own limits to capture their surroundings in a way that was meaningful, turning the camera towards their own lives as well as the lives of complete strangers.
I wanted to share some of the work they made because by Week 1 they proved to be quite a force of talent to be reckoned with. Seen together, it proves how diverse yet collective our experiences can be no matter where we are in the world.